The Razer Edge On the edge of something special but not quite

first_img Razer Edge controller dockRazer Edge controller dockRazer Edge’s controller dockRazer EdgeThe Edge with the controller dockEdge againThe assembled Edge ProEdge dockThe desktop dock for the EdgeRazer Edge’s controller dock With Microsoft and Canonical attempting to bring their full operating systems to tablets with Windows 8 and Ubuntu Touch, and with tablets inevitably growing stronger with every new hardware release, it would seem the space is already due for significant innovation. One of the main activities a portable device is good for is gaming, but even though the phone and tablet gaming arena has many wonderful experiences, the majority of them are what they are — phone and tablet games — and don’t offer what a dedicated console or gaming PC can offer. Gaming hardware manufacturer Razer is looking to change that, and have tossed the Razer Edge, a gaming tablet, into the ring. Can a tablet offer the full gaming PC experience on the go?The short answer? Kind of, but only if you play PC games that were specifically designed with a console-style gamepad in mind, which severely limits what you can actually play. After having spent a decent chunk of time with the Edge, and putting it through the ultimate portability test — a commute clocking in at a little over two hours — I can assure you that the short answer simply isn’t enough.The idea of the Edge is, for lack of a better word, awesome. Smartphones and tablets have some great games, as do Nintendo and Sony portables, but they just don’t offer the same experience as a full console or PC game. You can have a lot of fun playing Spaceteam or Knights of Pen & Paper on your phone, but you can’t have that blockbuster, multi-million dollar BioShock Infinite or Starcraft II experience. The Edge aims to give you that, and for a fleeting, specific moment, delivers.SpecsFirst, the hardware. There are two versions of the Edge, the standard and Pro. I got my hands on a Pro, which sports a dual-core 1.9GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia 640M LE graphics card with 2GB of memory. Not bad for a tablet.You can choose between a 128GB SSD or a 256GB SSD; I used out the latter, which raises the base price from $1299 to $1449. As someone who built a gaming PC with a 128GB SSD due to budget then immediately had to add another 256GB SSD after installing a few MMOs and other games, I can tell you that a 128GB SSD is not enough storage space for PC gaming. BioShock Infinite and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm are about 15GB to 20GB each.The drawback of the fancy hardware, aside from price, is that the tablet alone weighs a little over two pounds. The tablet doesn’t have too many ports — one for the proprietary charger (which is also the docking port), a single USB 3.0 port, and a headphone jack.The Razer Edge’s docking stationThe docking station will run you $99, and contains a power connector, three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack. The bottom of the dock has a padding that keeps the thing secure on a surface and generates enough traction that it’s almost impossible to slide the dock around without knocking the tablet over. So, you know your Edge is relatively safe. The station holds the tablet at a slight angle, but the angle is similar to the Surface, which means if you’re a little too tall, you’ll wish the angle was farther back. I’m 5-foot-11, and sitting at my work desk, I find I have to hunch down a bit in order to see the screen.The draw of this dock is that it allows you to attach a keyboard and mouse, and use the Edge as a standard gaming PC, alebit with a small, 10.1-inch tablet screen. However, you can use the HDMI port on the dock to connect to a larger display, and have what is essentially a standard gaming PC, but running off a tablet instead of a traditional desktop.Next page: The gamepad and beyond… VIEW PHOTO GALLERY 1 2 3last_img

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